Pigs feeding in a sty. One farmer is earning a 'salary' of about Sh57,000 per month from delivering pigs to a pork processing firm. Photo Courtesy.
Instead of being stranded after production, Bernard Nyaramba went straight into pig production after research helped him in identifying where to sell the animals.
Besides being sure of where and when to deliver the pigs when mature, Nyaramba estimates the cost of production and the profits he is to make.
The Kakamega County farmer delivers pigs for slaughter to Farmer’s Choice every month, a move that is giving him a constant income.
“Western Kenya is renowned for production of maize, sugarcane and other crops. But these crops do not have a stable market, a fact that makes them unreliable sources of income. Investing in them does not make agribusiness sense. That is why I moved into something different-pigs,” the farmer said.
While sugarcane farmers go for more than one year without payment, their maize counterparts incur about Sh2,200 in producing one bag of 90kg, which they sell at between Sh1,800 and Sh2,000.
But Nyaramba makes a net profit of Sh16,000 from each pig after seven months, the same duration required for maize production.
As a contracted farmer, he has specific time to deliver the pigs to the Nairobi-based pork processing firm.
Upon delivery of 25 pigs, the net profit is Sh400,000, which is equivalent to a gross salary of about Sh57,150 per month for the seven months.
In order to deliver the pigs according to the contact, the farmer strictly feeds the pigs on commercial feeds, which he says, offer uniform growth because of the standard nutrients.
“I always believe in doing something unique to my neighbours. This gives me an opportunity to enjoy limited competition, therefore, ensuring a good market,” Nyaramba said.
After showing interest in selling the pigs to Farmer’s Choice, the agro-processing firm carried out an inspection to ensure he met the standards.
In controlling the spread of diseases, the animals must be raised in disease-free zones as per livestock policy on movement of animals.
Among other quality standards, the animals he delivers are healthy, and above 90kg live weight.
Apart from castrating the males, the farmer restricts the pigs in their sty to minimise feeding on other wastes that lower the quality of pork while exposing the animals to dangers of other diseases.